Boeing’s latest 737 Max jets have come under the spotlight after the loss of two aircraft in fatal accidents merely six months apart. This is unheard of in this day and age. A lot of questions are being asked about the airworthiness of these jets, which are an iteration of the iconic Boeing 737, one of the most successful passenger jets ever produced. Boeing has now said that it’s going to release a software update for the 737 Max jets next month.
These updates were developed following the Lion Air Flight 610 crash that killed all 189 people onboard. Boeing says that this update brings changes for the flight control systems, operation manuals, crew training, and pilot displays. The common denominator in both the Lion Air and Sunday’s Ethiopian Air crash was a Boeing 737 Max-8. There were no survivors in both unfortunate incidents.
Since the investigation is in preliminary stages, no link between the cause of both crashes has been established yet. Boeing is going to issue the software update for all iterations of the 737 Max. The plane’s operators in the United States include American Airlines, Southwest Airlines, and United Airlines. According to reports, Lion Air pilots had trouble with a new feature called Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System (MCAS). It may have erroneously engaged, pushing the airplane’s nose down and causing it to go into a dive.
The pilots would have fought the controls but they were apparently unable to save the plane. There are now concerns that something similar might have happened with the Ethiopian Airlines flight but no evidence has come up to support that at this point in time. Some reports suggested that the pilots were unaware that the MCAS system existed on the plane prior to the Lion Air crash and they hadn’t been trained on it. Boeing did send out an emergency bulletin to airlines following the crash last year, ordering them to train pilots on how to shut down the automatic MCAS system.
Boeing maintains that the 737 Max is a “safe airplane,” but some people have trouble believing that right now. All 737 Max-8 models have been grounded by China’s civil aviation authority while flights on this jet have been banned by countries like Singapore and Australia. Some airlines have also grounded their 737 Max-8 fleets as they await an outcome of the Ethiopian Air crash investigation. The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration has not yet ground the fleet despite mounting calls from within Washington and the aviation industry to do so.